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How Freelancers Are Transforming the Traditional Office

Today’s office bears little resemblance to the cubicle farms of the 1980s or the secretarial pool of the Mad Men era. Open plan offices, hot desking, and futuristic, creativity-enhancing cubicles are slowly taking over our workspace, changing how we work. Cost-cutting measures might have inspired the revolution, but freelancers are at the front lines. If you want to see what tomorrow’s office will look like, look no further than our friends who file Schedule C’s.

In the old days, going to work meant dressing up, getting in your car or on public transportation, and heading off to an anonymous office building to sit next to identically dressed drones engaged in exactly the same activities you were engaged in. You showed up at 9, worked through the day, perhaps with a break for lunch, and then slid down the Brontosaurus tail as soon as the whistle blew at 5 PM.

Today, the office can be anything from a traditional building in an office park, a coffee shop, or your own home. Or you can join the revolution of workers who spend their days at co-working spaces — rent-a-cube style scenarios that let freelancers maintain their independence while also enjoying the structure of a professional work setting.

There’s an App for That
Don’t want to recreate the office in a co-working environment? Download one of the many apps that allow you to find other freelancers and work with them at places ranging from coffee shops to museums.

Lighter, Faster Technology
Laptops and freelancers have a chicken-or-the-egg kind of relationship. Did 30 percent of the workforce become independent workers because the laptop enabled them to do so? Or did laptops evolve, because an increasing self-directed workforce demanded them?

The answer, as with most academic questions is, “probably a little bit of both.” Still, there’s no denying that the way freelancers work is influencing the working style of companies who continue to rely on full-time staff. Hot desking, where workers aren’t assigned desks but rather dock their devices in a different spot each day, are a sort of in-house version of what independent workers do all the time.

More Flexibility
According to at least one survey, 60 percent of Americans would take a 25 percent pay cut, if they could work from home one day a week. If Americans are willing to give up money during a time when no one seems to have any, you know you’re talking about a seriously in-demand perk.


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